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County Dublin

Contae Bhaile Átha Cliath
Coat of arms of County Dublin
Coat of arms
The Pale (Others)
Irish: Beart do réir ár mbriathar
"Action to match our speech"
map showing County Dublin as a small area of darker green on the east coast within the lighter green background of Ireland and Northern Ireland in pink
County Dublin shown darker on the green of Ireland with Northern Ireland in pink
Country Ireland
Province Leinster
Region Eastern and Midland
Established 1190s
County town Dublin
 • Total 922 km2 (356 sq mi)
Area rank 30th
Highest elevation 757 m (2,484 ft)
 • Rank 1st
 • Density 1,459/km2 (3,780/sq mi)
Demonym(s) Dubliner
Time zone UTC±0 (GMT)
 • Summer (DST) UTC+1 (IST)
Eircode routing keys
D01–D18, D6W, D20, D22, D24, A41, A42, A45, A94, A96, K34, K45, K67, K78
Telephone area codes 01
Vehicle index
mark code

County Dublin (Irish: Contae Bhaile Átha Cliath or Contae Átha Cliath) is one of the thirty-two traditional counties of Ireland, located on the island's east coast, within the province of Leinster. The county is divided into the local government areas of Dublin City, Dún Laoghaire–Rathdown, Fingal and South Dublin. The latter three were counties created in 1994, when County Dublin ceased to exist for administrative purposes. The four areas are a NUTS III statistical region of Ireland (coded IE061).

Dublin is Ireland's most populous county, with over 1.345 million residents as of 2016 - approximately 27% of the Republic of Ireland's total population. Dublin city is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Ireland, as well as the largest city on the island of Ireland. Roughly 9 out of every 10 people in County Dublin lives within Dublin city and its suburbs. Several sizeable towns which are not part of the city, such as Swords, Rush, Donabate and Balbriggan, are located in the north of the county.

The third smallest county by land area, Dublin is bordered by Meath to the west and north, Kildare to the west, Wicklow to the south and the Irish Sea to the east. The southern part of the county is dominated by the Dublin Mountains, which rise to around 2,500 feet (760 m) and contain numerous valleys, reservoirs and forests. The county's east coast is punctuated by several bays and inlets, including Rogerstown Estuary, Broadmeadow Estuary, Baldoyle Bay and most prominently, Dublin Bay. The northern section of the county, today known as Fingal, varies enormously in character, from densely populated suburban towns of the city's commuter belt to flat, fertile plains, which are some of the country's largest horticultural and agricultural hubs.

Dublin is the oldest county in Ireland, and was the first part of the island to be shired following the Norman invasion in the late 1100s. While it is no longer used as an administrative division for local government, it retains a strong identity in popular culture, and Dublin continues to be referred to as both a region and county interchangeably, including at government body level.


M50 motorway (Ireland)
Map of Dublin's major roads
Photographed At Malahide on the way to Balbriggan-flickr537559248
Commuter train arriving at Malahide
T2Dublin Airport-doyler79
Dublin Airport was Europe's 12th-busiest airport in 2019
Irish Vehicle Registration Plate
Example of a Dublin number plate

County Dublin has the oldest and most extensive transportation infrastructure in Ireland. The Dublin and Kingstown Railway, opened in December 1834, was Ireland's first railway line. The line, which ran from Westland Row to Dún Laoghaire, was originally intended to be used for cargo. However, it proved far more popular with passengers and became the world's first commuter railway line. The line has been upgraded multiple times throughout its history and is still in use to this day, making it the oldest commuter railway route in the world.

Public transport in Dublin was managed by the Dublin Transportation Office until 2009, when it was replaced by the National Transport Authority (NTA). The three pillars currently underpinning the public transport network of the Greater Dublin Area (GDA) are Dublin Suburban Rail, the Luas and the bus system. There are six commuter lines in Dublin, which are managed by Iarnród Éireann. Five of these lines serve as routes between Dublin and towns across the GDA and beyond. The sixth route, known as Dublin Area Rapid Transit (DART), is electrified and serves only Dublin and northern Wicklow. The newest addition to Dublin's public transport network is a tram system called the Luas. The service began with two disconnected lines in 2004, with three extensions opened in 2009, 2010 and 2011 before a cross-city link between the lines and further extension opened in 2017.

Historically, Dublin had an extensive tram system which commenced in 1871 and at its peak had over 97 km (60 miles) of active line. It was operated by the Dublin United Transport Company (DUTC) and was very advanced for its day, with near-full electrification from 1901. From the 1920s onwards, the DUTC began to acquire private bus operators and gradually closed some of its lines. Further declines in passenger numbers were driven in part by a belief at the time that trams were outdated and archaic. All tram lines terminated in 1949, except for the tram to Howth, which ran until 1959.

Dublin Bus is the county's largest bus operator, carrying 138 million passengers in 2019. For much of the city, particularly west Dublin, the bus is the only public transport option available, and there are numerous smaller private bus companies in operation across County Dublin. National bus operator Bus Éireann provides long-distance routes to towns and villages located outside of Dublin city and its immediate hinterland.

In November 2005, the government announced a €34 billion initiative called Transport 21 which included a substantial expansion to Dublin's transport network. The project was cancelled in May 2011 in the aftermath of the 2008 recession. Consequently, by 2017 Hugh Creegan, deputy chief of the NTA, stated that there had been a "chronic underinvestment in public transport for more than a decade". By 2019, Dublin was reportedly the 17th most congested city in the world, and had the 5th highest average commute time in the European Union. The Luas and rail network regularly experience significant overcrowding and delays during peak hours, and in 2019 Iarnród Éireann was widely ridiculed for asking commuters to "stagger morning journeys" to alleviate the problem.

The M50 is a 45.5 km (28 mile) orbital motorway around Dublin city, and is the busiest motorway in the country. It serves as the centre of both Dublin and Ireland's motorway network, and most of the national primary roads to other cities begin at the M50 and radiate outwards. The current route was built in various sections over the course of 27 years, from 1983 to 2010. All major roads in Ireland are managed by Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII), which is headquartered in Parkgate Street, Dublin 8. As of 2019, there were over 550,000 cars registered in County Dublin, accounting for 25.3% of all cars registered in the State. Due to the county's small area and high degree of urbanisation, there is a preference for "D" registered used cars throughout Ireland, as they are considered to have undergone less wear and tear.

For international travel, around 1.7 million passengers travel by ferry through Dublin Port each year. A Dún Laoghaire to Holyhead ferry was formerly operated by Stena Line, but the route was closed in 2015. Dublin Airport is Ireland's largest airport, and 32.9 million passengers passed through it in 2019, making it Europe's 12th-busiest airport.


County Dublin is the main transport node of Ireland, and contains one international airport, Dublin Airport. It is also served by two main seaports, Dún Laoghaire port and Dublin Port, which is just located outside of the city center. The two main train stations are Dublin Heuston and Dublin Connolly, both of which serve intercity trains.



Cityscape At Sunset Dublin Ireland Cityscape Photography (179394129)
Dublin is the largest city in Ireland
County Dublin Population Density Map
Population density map of County Dublin

As of the 2016 census, the population of Dublin was 1,345,402, a 5.7% increase since the 2011 Census. The county's population first surpassed 1 million in 1981, and is projected to reach between 1.5 million and 1.7 million by 2031.

Dublin is Ireland's most populous county, a position it has held since the 1926 Census, when it overtook County Antrim. As of 2016, Dublin has over twice the population of Antrim and two and a half times the population of Cork. Approximately 20.5% of Ireland's population lives within County Dublin (27% if only the Republic of Ireland is counted). Additionally, Dublin has more people than the combined populations of Ireland's 16 smallest counties.

With an area of just 922 km2 (356 sq mi), Dublin is by far the most densely populated county in Ireland. The population density of the county is 1,459 people per square kilometre - nearly 7 times higher than Ireland's second most densely populated county, County Down in Northern Ireland.

During the Celtic Tiger period, a large number of Dublin natives (Dubliners) moved to the rapidly expanding commuter towns in the adjoining counties. As of 2016, approximately 25.8% (305,996) of Dubliners were living outside of County Dublin. People born within Dublin account for 28% of the population of Meath, 31% of Kildare and 35% of Wicklow. There are 880,457 Dublin natives living within the county, accounting for 66.8% of the population. People born in other Irish counties living within Dublin account for roughly 12.4% of the population.

Between 2011 and 2016, international migration produced a net increase of 25,261 people. Dublin has the highest proportion of international residents of any county in Ireland, with around 21% of the county's population being born outside of the Republic of Ireland.

As of the 2016 census, 6.8 percent of the county's population was reported as younger than 5 years old, 25.2 percent were between 5 and 25, 55.8 percent were between 25 and 65, and 12.2 percent of the population was older than 65. Of this latter group, 18,276 people (1.4 percent) were over the age of 80. The population was evenly split between females (50.14 percent) and males (49.86 percent).

In 2019, there were 17,682 births within the county, and the average age of a first time mother was 31.


Main immigrant groups, 2016
Country of birth Population
 United Kingdom 55,391
 Poland 33,751
 Romania 18,119
 India 11,572
 Brazil 9,865
 Lithuania 9,013
 United States 8,485
 Philippines 8,223
 China* 7,313
 Nigeria 7,290
 Italy 6,770
*Includes Hong Kong SAR
Polish shop dublin
A Polish shop in Dublin

Just over one fifth (20.8 percent) of County Dublin's population was born outside of the Republic of Ireland. In 2016, Fingal had the highest percentage of non-nationals in Dublin (23.2 percent), and South Dublin had the lowest (17.5 percent). The immigrant population of Dublin is mainly from other European countries. There are also substantial numbers of Indians, Brazilians, Americans and East Asians living in the county. Immigrants from other European Union member states account for 10.4 percent of Dublin's population, and those from the United Kingdom a further 5.3 percent.

The largest sources of foreign-born residents in Dublin are the United Kingdom and Poland, although the growth of these two groups has slowed in recent years. Prior to the 2000s, the UK was historically the largest single source of non-nationals living in Dublin. Of those born in the UK, 76.3 percent were born in Britain, and the remaining 23.7 percent were born in Northern Ireland. Between 2011 and 2016, the number of UK-born residents living in Dublin declined by 1.8 percent.

There is a large difference between the number of people living in Dublin who were born in the UK (55,391) and those who stated that they were UK citizens in the 2016 census (19,196). This discrepancy can arise for a variety of factors, such as people born in Northern Ireland claiming Irish citizenship rather than UK citizenship, Irish people born in the UK who now live in Dublin, British people who have become natural citizens, and foreign residents of Dublin who were born in the UK but are not UK citizens. Depending on an individual's responses in the census, all of these examples could result in the country of birth being registered by the CSO as the United Kingdom, but nationality being registered as Irish or a third country.

Following its accession to the EU, the Polish quickly became the fastest growing immigrant community in Dublin. Just 188 Poles had applied for Irish work permits in 1999. By 2006 this number had grown to 93,787. After the 2008 Irish economic downturn, as many as 3,000 Poles left Ireland each month. Despite this, Poles still account for roughly one quarter of Dublin's EU foreign residents, and are the largest non-national group in the county, as well as the second largest foreign-born group.

As of 2016, the fastest growing major immigrant group in Dublin was Romanians. Despite being an EU member since 2007, Ireland had restrictions on the number of Romanians who could emigrate to the country until 2012. The five-year period from 2011 to 2016 saw a 67.7 percent increase in the number of Romanians living in Dublin, who are now the county's third largest foreign national group. County Dublin is home to around 58 percent of Ireland's Romanian community.

Outside of Europe, Brazil and India are the largest and fastest growing sources of foreign residents in Dublin. The number of Brazilians living in Dublin increased by 48.5 percent between 2011 and 2016, mainly as a result of Ireland's participation in the Brazilian government's Ciência sem Fronteiras programme, which sees thousands of Brazilian students come to study in Ireland each year, many of whom remain in the country afterwards. Dublin's Indian community grew by 15.1 percent from 2011 to 2016, and Indians are now the fourth largest migrant group in the county. The influx of Indians is primarily driven by multinational tech companies such as Microsoft, Google and Facebook who have located their European headquarters within the county, in areas such as the Silicon Docks and Sandyford. In August 2020, the first dedicated Hindu temple in Ireland was built in Walkinstown.


According to the Central Statistics Office, in 2016 the population of County Dublin self-identified as:

  • 87.6% White (75.5% White Irish, 11.7% Other White Background, 0.5% Irish Traveler)
  • 3.8% Asian
  • 2.3% Mixed background
  • 2.2% Black
  • 4.1% Not Stated

By ethnicity, in 2016 the population was 87.6% white. Those who identified as White Irish constituted 75.5% of the county's population, and Irish Travelers account for a further 0.5%. Caucasians who did not identify as ethnically Irish accounted for 11.7% of the population.

In terms of total numbers, Dublin has the largest non-white population in Ireland, with an estimated 109,732 residents, accounting for 8.3% of the county's population. Nearly half (44.7 percent) of Ireland's black residents live within the county. In terms of percentage of population, Fingal has the highest percentage of both black (3.9 percent) and non-white (10.1 percent) residents of any local authority in Ireland. Conversely, Dún Laoghaire–Rathdown in the south of the county has one of Ireland's lowest percentages of black residents, with only 0.67% of the population identifying as black in 2016. Additionally, 42.8% of Ireland's multiracial population lives within County Dublin.


Religion in Dublin (2016)
religion percent
Roman Catholicism
No religion
Other Christian
Other stated religions
Not Stated
St Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin (40282975540)
St Patrick's Cathedral, founded in 1191

The largest religious denomination by both number of adherents and as a percentage of Dublin's population in 2016 was the Roman Catholic Church, at 68.9 percent. All other Christian denominations including Church of Ireland, Eastern Orthodox, Presbyterian and Methodist accounted for 7.0 percent of Dublin's population. Together, all denominations of Christianity accounted for 75.9 percent of the county's population. According to the 2016 census, Dublin city is the least religious local authority in Ireland, with 18.1 percent of the population declaring themselves non-religious, followed closely by Dún Laoghaire–Rathdown and Galway city (17.1 percent). In the county as a whole, those unaffiliated with any religion represented 14.4 percent of the population, which is the largest percentage of non-religious people of any county in Ireland.

Of the non-Christian religions, Islam is the largest in terms of number of adherents, with Muslims accounting for 2.2% of the population. After Islam, the largest non-Christian religions in 2016 were Hinduism (0.62 percent), Buddhism (0.32 percent) and Judaism (0.11 percent). While small in percentage terms, County Dublin contains over half of Ireland's Hindu (58.4 percent), Jewish (56.3 percent) and Eastern Orthodox (52.1%) residents, and just under half of its Islamic (47.3 percent) and Buddhist (44.0 percent) residents.

Dublin and its hinterland has been a Christian diocese since 1028. For centuries, the Primacy of Ireland was disputed between Dublin, the social and political capital of Ireland, and Armagh, site of Saint Patrick's main church, which was founded in 445 AD. In 1353 the dispute was settled by Pope Innocent VI, who proclaimed that the Archbishop of Dublin was Primate of Ireland, while the Archbishop of Armagh was titled Primate of All Ireland. These two distinct titles were replicated in the Church of Ireland following the Reformation. Historically, County Dublin was the epicentre of Protestantism in Ireland outside of Ulster. Records from the 1891 census show that the county was 21.4 percent Protestant towards the end of the 19th century. By the 1911 census this had gradually declined to around 20% due to poor economic conditions, as Dublin Protestants moved to industrial Belfast. Following the War of Independence (1919-1921), Dublin's Protestant community went into a steady decline, falling to 8.5 percent of the population by 1936.

Between the 2011 and 2016 census, the fastest growing religions in Dublin were Evangelicalism (111.7 percent), Eastern Orthodox (41.0 percent), Hinduism (30.1 percent) and Islam (17.7 percent), while the most rapidly declining religions were Methodist/Wesleyan (−9.6 percent), Catholicism (−5.5 percent) and Anglicanism (−4.7 percent).

Metropolitan Area

Dublin city

The boundaries of Dublin City Council form the urban core of the city, often referred to as "Dublin city centre", an area of 117.8 square kilometres. This encompasses the central suburbs of the city, extending as far south as Terenure and Donnybrook; as far north as Ballymun and Donaghmede; and as far west as Ballyfermot. As of 2016, there were 554,554 people living within Dublin city centre. However, as the continuous built-up area extends beyond the city boundaries, the term "Dublin city and suburbs" is commonly employed when referring to the actual extent of Dublin.

Dublin City Boundaries 2020
Map of Greater Dublin's defined boundaries

Dublin city and suburbs

Dublin city and suburbs is a CSO-designated urban area which includes the densely populated contiguous built-up area which surrounds Dublin city centre. It encompasses 317.5 km2 and contains approximately 87% of County Dublin's population (1,173,179 people) as of the 2016 census.

Dublin Metropolitan Area

As the city proper does not extend beyond Dublin Airport, the towns of "North County Dublin" such as Swords, Lusk, Rush and Malahide are not considered part of the city, and are recorded by the CSO as separate settlements. Under Ireland's National Planning Framework, these towns are considered part of the Dublin Metropolitan Area (DMA). The DMA also includes towns outside of the county, such as Naas, Leixlip and Maynooth in County Kildare, and Bray and Greystones in County Wicklow, but does not include Balbriggan or Skerries, which are located in the far north of County Dublin.

Greater Dublin Area

The Greater Dublin Area (GDA) is a commonly used planning jurisdiction which extends to the wider network of commuter towns that are economically connected to Dublin city. The GDA consists of County Dublin and its three neighboring counties, Kildare, Meath and Wicklow.

With a population of 1.9 million and an area of 6,986 square kilometres, it contains 40% of the population of the State, and covers 9.9% of its land area.

Metropolitan Area Statistics
Statistical Area Population (2016) Area (km2) Density (per km2) Local Authorities
Dublin City 554,554 117.8 4,708 Dublin
Dublin City and suburbs 1,173,179 317.5 3,695 Dublin, Fingal, South Dublin, Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown
County Dublin 1,345,402 922 1,459 Dublin, Fingal, South Dublin, Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown
Dublin Metropolitan Area 1,417,700 1,000 1,418 Dublin, Fingal, South Dublin, Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown, Meath, Kildare, Wicklow
Greater Dublin Area 1,904,806 6,986 273 Dublin, Fingal, South Dublin, Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown, Meath, Kildare, Wicklow

Urban Areas

Under CSO classification, an "Urban Area" is a town with a population greater than 1,500. Dublin is the most urbanised county in Ireland, with 97.75% of its residents residing in urban areas as of 2016. Of Dublin's three non-city local authorities, Fingal has the highest proportion of people living in rural areas (7.9%), while Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown has the lowest (1.19%). The western suburbs of Dublin city such as Tallaght and Blanchardstown have experienced rapid growth in recent decades, and both areas have a population roughly equivalent to Galway city.

Largest cities or towns in County Dublin
Rank Pop.
1 Dublin 554,554
2 Tallaght 76,119
3 Blanchardstown 74,478
4 Swords 39,248
5 Dún Laoghaire 26,525
6 Balbriggan 21,722
7 Malahide 16,550
8 Skerries 10,043
9 Rush 9,943
10 Portmarnock 9,466


Share of Irish GDP by Region (2018)
Dublin accounts for over two-fifths of Ireland's GDP

The Dublin Region, which is conterminous with County Dublin, has the largest and most highly developed economy in Ireland, accounting for over two-fifths of national Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The Central Statistics Office estimates that the GDP of the Dublin Region in 2018 was €139.14 billion ($160 billion / £123 billion at 2018 exchange rates). In nominal terms, Dublin's economy is larger than roughly 140 sovereign states. The county's GDP per capita is €103,248 ($118,694 / £91,345), one of the highest regional GDPs per capita in the EU. As of 2018, Dublin also had the highest Human Development Index in Ireland at 0.963, placing it among the most developed places in the world in terms of life expectancy, education and per capita income.


Deprivation Index Map of Dublin
Map showing relative poverty by Small Area in Dublin

In 2017, average disposable income per person in Dublin was €23,864, or 115.2% of the national average (€20,714), the highest of any county in Ireland. As Ireland's most populous county, Dublin has the highest total household income in the country, at an estimated €46.8 billion in 2017 - higher than the Border, Midlands, West and South-East regions combined. Dublin residents were the highest per capita tax contributors in the State, returning a total of €15.1 billion in taxes in 2017.

Many of Ireland's most prominent political, educational, cultural and media centres are concentrated south of the River Liffey in Dublin city. Further south, areas like Dún Laoghaire, Dalkey and Killiney have long been some of Dublin's most affluent areas, and Dún Laoghaire–Rathdown consistently has the highest average house prices in Ireland. This has resulted in a perceived socio-economic divide in Dublin, between the generally less affluent "Northside" and the wealthier "Southside". In Dublin (both city and county), residents will commonly refer to themselves as a "Northsider or a "Southsider", and the division is often caricatured in Irish comedy, media and literature, for example Ross O'Carroll-Kelly and Damo and Ivor. References to the divide have also become colloquialisms in their own right, such as "D4" (referring to the Dublin 4 postal district), which is a pejorative term for an upper middle class Irish person.

While the northside-southside divide remains prevalent in popular culture, economic indices such as the Pobal HP deprivation index have shown that the distinction doesn't reflect economic reality. Many of Dublin's most affluent areas (Clontarf, Raheny, Howth, Portmarnock, Malahide) are located in the north of the county, and many of its most deprived areas (Jobstown, Ballyogan, Ballybrack, Dolphin's Barn, Clondalkin) are located in the south of the county.

Utilising CSO data from the past three censuses, Pobal HP revealed that there was a much higher concentration of below average, disadvantaged and very disadvantaged areas in west Dublin. In 2012, Irish Times Columnist Fintan O'Toole posited that the real economic divide in Dublin was not north–south, but east–west - between the older coastal areas of eastern Dublin and the newer sprawling suburbs of western Dublin - and that the perpetuation of the northside-southside "myth" was a convenient way to gloss over class division within the county. O'Toole argued that framing the city's wealth divide as a light-hearted north–south stereotype was easier than having to address the socio-economic impacts of deliberate government policy to remove working-class people from the city centre and settle them on the margins.



Dublin is both a European and Global financial hub, and around 200 of the world's leading financial services firms have operations within the county. In 2017 and 2018 respectively, Dublin was ranked 5th in Europe and 31st globally in the Global Financial Centres Index (GFCI). In the mid-1980s, parts of central Dublin had fallen into a state of dereliction and the Irish government pursued an urban regeneration programme. An 11-hectare special economic zone (SEZ) was set up in 1987, known as the International Financial Services Centre (IFSC). At the time of its establishment, the SEZ had the lowest corporate tax rate in the EU. The IFSC has since expanded into a 37.8-hectare site centred around the Dublin Docklands. As of 2020, over €1.8 trillion of funds are administered from Ireland.

There was renewed interest in Dublin's financial services sector in the wake of the UK's vote to withdraw from the European Union in 2016. Many firms, including Barclays and Bank of America, pre-emptively moved some of their operations from London to Dublin in anticipation of restricted EU market access. A survey conducted by Ernst & Young in 2021 found that Dublin was the most popular destination for firms in the UK considering relocating to the EU, ahead of Luxembourg and Frankfurt. It is estimated that Dublin's financial sector will grow by about 25% as a direct result of Brexit, and as many as 13,000 jobs could move from the UK to County Dublin in the years immediately after its withdrawal.

Central Park, Sandyford-1
Sandyford Business District

Industry and Energy

Ryanair Boeing 737-800 in SXF
Dublin-based Ryanair is Europe's largest airline
Dublin Port, Co. Dublin (507221) (32979900775)
Dublin Port handles over 50% of Ireland's international trade

The economy of Dublin benefits from substantial amounts of both indigenous and foreign investment. In 2018, the Financial Times ranked Dublin the most attractive large city in the world for Foreign Direct Investment, and the city has been consistently ranked by Forbes as one of the world's most business-friendly. The economy is centered on financial services, the pharmaceuticals and biotechnology industries, information technology, logistics and storage, professional services, agriculture and tourism. IDA Ireland, the state agency responsible for attracting foreign direct investment, was founded in Dublin in 1949.

Dublin has four power plants, all of which are concentrated in the docklands area of Dublin city. Three are natural-gas plants operated by the ESB, and the Poolbeg Incinerator is operated by Covanta Energy. The four plants produce 1.039 GW of energy per annum, roughly 12.5% of the island of Ireland's generation capacity as of 2019. The disused Poolbeg chimneys are the tallest structures in the county, and were granted protection by Dublin city council in 2014.

As a result of Dublin city's location within a sheltered bay at the mouth of a navigable river, shipping has been a key industry in the county since medieval times. By the 18th-century, Dublin was a bustling maritime city and large-scale engineering projects were undertaken to enhance the port's capacity, such as the Great South Wall, which was the largest sea wall in the world at the time of its construction in 1715. Dublin Port was originally located along the Liffey, but gradually moved towards the coast over the centuries as vessel size increased. It is today the largest and busiest port in Ireland. It handles 50% of the Republic of Ireland's trade, and receives 60% of all vessel arrivals.

Dublin Port occupies an area of 259 ha (640 acres) in one of the most expensive places in the country, with an estimated price per acre of around €10 million. Since the 2000s, there have been calls to relocate Dublin Port out of the city and free up its land for residential and commercial development. This was first proposed by the Progressive Democrats at the height of the Celtic Tiger in 2006, who valued the land at between €25 and €30 billion, although nothing became of this proposal. During the housing crisis of the late 2010s the idea again began to attract supporters, among them economist David McWilliams. Currently, there are no official plans to move the port elsewhere, and the Dublin Port Company strongly opposes relocation.

Dublin hosts the headquarters of some of Ireland's largest multinational corporations, including 14 of the 20 companies which make up the ISEQ 20 index - those with the highest trading volume and market capitalisation of all Irish Stock Exchange listed companies. These are: AIB, Applegreen, Bank of Ireland, Cairn Homes, Continental Group, CRH, Dalata Hotel Group, Flutter Entertainment, Greencoat Renewables, Hibernia REIT, IRES, Origin Enterprises, Ryanair and Smurfit Kappa.

Dublin - Guinness Storehouse - 20160507154437
The Guinness Storehouse, Ireland's most visited tourist attraction


County Dublin receives by far the most overseas tourists of any county in Ireland. This is primarily due to Dublin city's status as Ireland's largest city and its transportation hub. Dublin is also Ireland's most popular destination for domestic tourists. According to Fáilte Ireland, in 2017 Dublin received nearly 6 million overseas tourists, and just under 1.5 million domestic tourists. Most of Ireland's international flights transit through Dublin Airport, and the vast majority of passenger ferry arrivals dock at Dublin Port. In 2019, the port also facilitated 158 cruise ship arrivals. The tourism industry in the county is worth approximately €2.3 billion per year.

As of 2019, 4 of the top 10 fee-paying tourist attractions in Ireland are located within County Dublin, as well as 5 of the top 10 free attractions. The Guinness Storehouse at St. James's Gate is Ireland's most visited tourist attraction, receiving 1.7 million visitors in 2019, and over 20 million total visits since 2000. Additionally, Dublin also contains Ireland's 3rd (Dublin Zoo), 4th (Book of Kells) and 6th (St Patrick's Cathedral) most visited fee-paying attractions. The top free attractions in Dublin are the National Gallery of Ireland, the National Botanic Gardens, the National Museum of Ireland and the Irish Museum of Modern Art, all of which receive over half a million visitors per year.


Clonshaugh Rd, Swords (506156)
Fingal is Dublin's agricultural heartland
Tibradden Mountain
Commercial forestry plantation in the Dublin Mountains

Despite having the smallest farmed area of any county, Dublin is one of Ireland's major agricultural producers. Dublin is the largest producer of fruit and vegetables in Ireland, the third largest producer of oilseed rape and has the fifth largest fishing industry. Fingal alone produces 55% of Ireland's fresh produce, including soft fruits and berries, apples, lettuces, peppers, asparagus, potatoes, onions, and carrots. As of 2020, the Irish Farmers' Association estimates that the total value of Dublin's agricultural produce is €205 million. According to the CSO, fish landings in the county are worth a further €20 million.

Approximately 41% of the county's land area (38,576 ha) is farmed. Of this, 12,578 ha (31,081 acres) is under tillage, the 9th highest in the country, and 6,500 ha (16,062 acres) is dedicated to fruit & horticulture, the 4th highest. Rural County Dublin is considered a peri-urban region, where an urban environment transitions into a rural one. Due to the growth of Dublin city and its commuter towns in the north of the county, the region is considered to be under significant pressure from urban sprawl. Between 1991 and 2010, the amount of agricultural land within the county decreased by 22.9%. In 2015, the local authorities of Fingal, South Dublin and Dún Laoghaire–Rathdown developed a joint Dublin Rural Local Development Strategy aimed at enhancing the region's agricultural output, while also managing and minimising the impact of urbanisation on biodiversity and the identity and culture of rural Dublin.

The county has a small forestry industry that is based almost entirely in the upland areas of south County Dublin. According to the 2017 National Forestry Inventory, 6,011 ha (14,854 acres) of the county was under forest, of which 1,912 ha (4,725 acres) was private forestry. The majority of Dublin's forests are owned by the national forestry company, Coillte. In the absence of increased private planting, the county's commercial timber capacity is expected to decrease in the coming decades, as Coillte intends to convert much of their holdings in the Dublin Mountains into non-commercial mixed forests.

Dublin has 810 individual farms with an average size of 47.6 ha (118 acres), the largest average farm size of any county in Ireland. Roughly 9,400 people within the county are directly employed in either agriculture or the food and drink processing industry. Numerous Irish and multinational food and drink companies are either based in Dublin or have facilities within the county, including Mondelez, Coca-Cola, Mars, Diageo, Kellogg's, Danone, Ornua, Pernod Ricard and Glanbia. In 1954, Tayto Crisps were established in Coolock and developed into cultural phenomenon throughout much of the Republic of Ireland. Its operations and headquarters have since moved to neighbouring County Meath. Another popular crisp brand, Keogh's, are based in Oldtown, Fingal.


Heffo's Army Hill 16 mural in Ballybough
Dublin GAA mural in Ballybough


Dublin is a dual county in Gaelic games, and it competes at a similar level in both hurling/camogie and Gaelic football. The Dublin county board is the governing body for Gaelic games within the county. The county's current GAA crest, adopted in 2004, represents Dublin's four constituent areas. The castle represents Dublin city, the raven represents Fingal, the Viking longboat represents Dún Laoghaire–Rathdown and the book of Saint Tamhlacht in the centre represents South Dublin.

In Gaelic football, the Dublin county team competes annually in Division 1 of the National Football League and the provincial Leinster Senior Football Championship. Dublin is the dominant force of Leinster football, with 60 Leinster Senior Championship wins. Nationally, the county is second only to Kerry for All-Ireland Senior Football Championship titles. The two counties are fierce rivals, and a meeting between them is considered the biggest game in Gaelic football. Dublin has won the All-Ireland on 30 occasions, including a record 6 in a row from 2015 to 2020.

In hurling, the Dublin hurling team currently compete in Division 1B of the National Hurling League and in the Leinster Senior Hurling Championship. Dublin is the second most successful hurling county in Leinster after Kilkenny, albeit a distant second, with 24 Leinster hurling titles. The county has seen less success in the All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship, ranking joint-fifth alongside Wexford. Dublin has been in 21 All-Ireland hurling finals, winning just 6, the most recent of which was in 1938.

Within the county, Gaelic football and hurling clubs compete in the Dublin Senior Football Championship and the Dublin Senior Hurling Championship, which were both established in 1887. St Vincents based in Marino and Faughs based in Templeogue are by far the most successful clubs in Dublin their respective sports. Four Dublin football teams have won the All-Ireland Senior Club Football Championship; St Vincents, Kilmacud Crokes, UCD and Ballyboden St Enda's. Despite their historic dominance in Dublin, Faughs have never won an All-Ireland Senior Club Hurling Championship. Since the early 2010s, Dalkey's Cuala have been the county's main hurling force, and the club won back-to-back All-Ireland's in 2017 and 2018.

Association football

Tallaght Stadium (2014)
Tallaght Stadium
Avia Stadion Dublin Irland (126472271)
Both the national football team and national rugby team of Ireland are based in the Aviva Stadium

Association football (soccer) is one of the most popular sports within the county. While Gaelic games are the most watched sport in Dublin, association football is the most widely played, and there are over 200 amateur football clubs in County Dublin. Dalymount Park in Phibsborough is known as the "home of Irish football", as it is both the country's oldest stadium and the former home ground for the national team from 1904 until 1990. The Republic of Ireland national football team is currently based in the 52,000 seater Aviva Stadium, which was built on the site of the old Lansdowne Road stadium in 2010. Shortly after its completion, the Aviva Stadium hosted the 2011 UEFA Europa League Final. Five League of Ireland football clubs are based within County Dublin; Bohemians F.C., Shamrock Rovers, St Patrick's Athletic, University College Dublin and Shelbourne.

Shamrock Rovers, formerly of Milltown but now based in Tallaght, are the most successful club in the country, with 19 League of Ireland titles. They were also the first Irish side to reach the group stages of a European competition when they qualified for the 2011–12 UEFA Europa League group stage. The Dublin University Football Club, founded in 1854, are technically the world's oldest extant football club. However, the club currently only plays rugby union. Bohemians are Ireland's third oldest club currently playing football, after Belfast's Cliftonville F.C. and Athlone Town A.F.C.. The Bohemians–Shamrock Rovers rivalry not only involves Dublin's two biggest clubs, but it is also a Northside-Southside rivalry, making it the most intense derby match in the county.

Club League Stadium (capacity) Established Titles
Bohemians LOI Premier Division Dalymount Park (3,400) 1890 11
St Patrick's Athletic Richmond Park (5,340) 1929 8
Shamrock Rovers Tallaght Stadium (8,000) 1899 19
Shelbourne Tolka Park (4,400) 1895 13
University College Dublin UCD Bowl (3,000) 1895 0

Other sports

County Dublin - Golf Links Hotel (Portmarnock) - 20190511195853
Clubhouse at Portmarnock Golf Club

Rugby Union is the county's third most popular sport, after Gaelic games and football. Leinster Rugby play their competitive home games in the RDS Arena & the Aviva Stadium. Donnybrook Stadium hosts Leinster's friendlies and A games, as well as the Ireland A and Women's teams, Leinster Schools and Youths and the home club games of All Ireland League sides Old Wesley and Bective Rangers. County Dublin is home to 13 of the senior rugby union clubs in Ireland, including 5 of the 10 sides in the top division 1A.

Other popular sports in the county include: cricket, hockey, golf, tennis, athletics and equestrian activities. Dublin has two ODI cricket grounds in Castle Avenue and Malahide Cricket Club Ground, and the Phoenix Cricket Club, founded in 1830, is the oldest in Ireland. As with many other sporting organisations in the county, the Fitzwilliam Lawn Tennis Club is one of the world's oldest. It hosted the now-discontinued Irish Open from 1879 until 1983. Field hockey, particularly women's field hockey, is becoming increasingly popular within the county. The Ireland women's national field hockey team made it to the 2018 World Cup final, and many of the players on that team were from Dublin clubs, such as UCD, Old Alex, Loreto, Monkstown, Muckross and Railway Union.

The Dublin Horse Show takes place at the RDS, which hosted the Show Jumping World Championships in 1982, and the county has a horse racing track at Leopardstown which hosts the Irish Champion Stakes every September. Dublin houses the national stadium for both boxing (National Stadium) and basketball (National Basketball Arena), and the city hosted the 2003 Special Olympics. Although a small county in size, Dublin contains one third of Leinster's 168 golf courses, and three-time major winner Pádraig Harrington is from Rathfarnham.


Clockwise from top left: Trinity College Dublin, University College Dublin, Dublin City University, and Technological University Dublin

In Ireland, spending on education is controlled by the government and the allocation of funds is decided each year in the annual budget. Local authorities retain limited responsibilities such as funding for school meals, service supports costs and the upkeep of libraries.

There are hundreds of primary and secondary schools within County Dublin, most of which are English-language schools. Several international schools are based in Dublin, such as St Kilian's German School and Lycée Français d'Irlande, which teach in foreign languages. There is also a large minority of students attending gaelscoileanna (Irish-language primary schools). There are 34 gaelscoileanna and 10 gaelcholáistí (Irish-language secondary schools) in the county, with a total of 12,950 students as of 2018. In terms of college acceptance rates, gaelcholáistí are consistently the best performing schools in Dublin, and among the best performing in Ireland.

Although the government pays for a large majority of school costs, including teachers' salaries, the Roman Catholic Church is the largest owner of schools in Dublin, and preference is given to Catholic students over non-Catholic students in oversubscribed areas. This has resulted in a growing movement towards non-denominational and co-educational schools in the county.

The majority of private secondary schools in Dublin are still single sex, and continue to have religious patronages with either congregations of the Catholic Church (Spiritans, Sisters of Loreto, Jesuits) or Protestant denominations (Church of Ireland, Presbyterian). Newer private schools which cater for the Leaving Cert cycle such as the Institute of Education and Ashfield College are generally non-denominational and co-educational. In 2018, Nord Anglia International School Dublin opened in Leopardstown, becoming the most expensive private school in Ireland.

As of 2021–22, four of Dublin's third level institutions are listed in the Top 500 of either the Times Higher Education Rankings or the QS World Rankings, placing them amongst the top 2% of all third level institutions in the world. TCD (101), UCD (173) and DCU (490) are within the Top 500 of the QS rankings; and TCD (146), UCD (201-250) and RCSI (201-250) are within the Top 500 of the Times rankings. Newly amalgamated TUD also placed within the world's Top 1,000 universities in the QS rankings, and within the Top 500 for Engineering and Electronics.

County Dublin has four public universities, as well as numerous other colleges, institutes of technology and institutes of further education. Several of Dublin's largest third level institutions and their associated abbreviations are listed below:

"The College of Surgeons, Dublin". 1837.
  • Dublin Business School (DBS)
  • Dublin City University (DCU)
  • Dún Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology (IADT)
  • Griffith College Dublin (GCD)
  • National College of Ireland (NCI)
  • Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI)
  • Technological University Dublin (TUD)
  • Trinity College Dublin (TCD)
  • University College Dublin (UCD)

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